Spacecraft-Associated Microbial Meta-Database: Construction of a public database of potential forward contaminants of Mars
Authors:Laura Keagy, Rakesh Mogul, Argelia Nava, Farah Zerehi
Mentor:Rakesh Mogul, Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry, Cal Poly Pomona
Cataloging the microbiological inventory of the cleanroom facilities where spacecraft are assembled is an essential component to understanding the potential to contaminate Mars via spacecraft exploration. Accordingly, we are constructing a meta-tag based database of microorganisms that have been genetically detected and/or isolated in NASA spacecraft assembly facilities, and thus may serve as potential forward contaminants. The Spacecraft-Associated Microbial Meta-Database includes descriptive meta-tags such as phylogenetic characterization, method of detection, geographical location of isolation, microbial habitats, culture conditions, and survivability parameters. Our aim is to construct an open-access database that can be added onto by members of the astrobiology community. The current status of the project, initial phylogenetic and geographic trends, and future work will be discussed.